Italian soccer club AC Milan has partnered with blockchain sports entertainment provider Chiliz to launch $ACM Fan Tokens. The initiative, which aims to increase fan engagement with the club, will be launched on the Socios.com platform.
With an estimate of 450 million fans worldwide, AC Milan is a significant new partner for Socios.com. Nevertheless, the network has 19 other major sports organizations, including current Italian top football league champion Juventus. Other major teams such as Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona and Atlético have also launched Fan Tokens on the platform. Football clubs aside, Socios.com has partnerships with leading esports organizations, UFC, and MMA.
The platform will enable $ACM owners to access voting polls, qualify for VIP rewards, gain ‘super-fan’ recognition and interact in games and chat forums with other token owners.
Previous interaction between fans and clubs’ management on the platform has allowed fans to contribute to significant decisions for their team. For example, Juventus used voting polls on the platform to choose the club’s home and away kit, FC Barcelona put fan designed artwork in its stadium dressing room, and Roma fans had the opportunity to ask the club’s head coach direct questions.
To date, over 450,000 people have downloaded Socios. Last year alone, 14 million Fan Tokens were sold across the platform and more than 700,000 votes were registered, generating $30 million in total revenue for clubs and partners.
The significant increase in attention and investment in fan token platforms is likely partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With limited, if any, stadium capacity, clubs had to find other streams of revenue while keeping fans engaged. The solution provided by tokens keeps fans interested in the club beyond their time on the field and provides another income source to the organization.
The use of blockchain tokens goes beyond fan engagement in the sports industry. Brazilian football team Vasco da Gama recently launched a project for the tokenization of player transfers under FIFA’s solidarity mechanism.
Still, to increase fan engagement seems to be the primary purpose of most token-based partnerships in the sports industry. Recently, Ukranian football team Dynamo Kyiv partnered with a blockchain startup to create a digital economy around fan engagement. Last year, leading advertising agency Havas partnered with FinTech H2O to develop a blockchain-based fan engagement solution.